WelcomeVisionPresident's Message

Welcome Class of 2006
Ashesi University
Feb 2003

We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time

- T.S. Elliot

Class of 2006, akwaaba! Welcome to Ashesi University. We are thrilled to have you join our community. We are excited about the new beginning that you represent for us, and the new start that our institution represents for you.

In just twenty eight words, T.S Elliot shares with us a profound insight about life's journey. About the need for persistence in our quest, and the wisdom that comes from returning to our beginnings -- the innocence, the curiosity, and the sense of wonder. As young children, the world seemed a very big place, full of delightful things and sometimes full of danger. We never hesitated then to ask questions like Why, What, Who, When, How.

I lost that sense of wonderment during my teenage years, but at age 20, my college experience rekindled that spirit. Swarthmore College, where I experienced this renewal, is a place that still gives me goose bumps when I visit. It is a place where everyone is allowed, indeed required, to ask Why, What, Who, When, How, and to keep asking until they truly understand.

Ashesi University is my attempt to bring that special spark that I found at Swarthmore back to Ghana. The 'starting place' the beginning - in Elliot's poem can also represent returning home with greater insight and conviction.

My journey back to Ghana has entailed a few rough bumps, like a time in 1990 when the difficulties and restrictions I saw during a brief visit home led me to believe that I would never return here to stay. But in May 1995 the birth of my first child created a new reality that helped me grow up.

Have you ever seen the face of a new born baby?
Have you ever seen the face of a new mother when Baby looks up at her?
Have you ever seen the face of a new born baby?
It's like seeing the face of God.


This was my attempt in 1995 to describe my son's birth to my friends. The event of his birth began a period of considerable turmoil for me as I grappled with the question of how the world would affect him. More precisely, as I looked at my African son, I became increasingly concerned about the state of Africa's economy and society, and the effect it might have on his future. Thus began my quest, with strong support from my wife, Rebecca, to create an institution of higher learning dedicated to training a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders. Thankfully, many more people have shared this inspiration with Rebecca and me. With their help, on March 4th 2002, Ashesi University was born.

Ashesi's first year of instruction was an incredible experience. At times, it almost seemed magical to see the transformation among our students, as Ashesi's pioneers, Class of 2005, rose up to the challenge we presented to them. I am convinced that this year, and indeed your next four years, will be every bit as memorable and rewarding.

Since our modest beginning last year, our faculty and staff strength has increased considerably, and our student enrollment has also increased in size, quality and diversity. It is no exaggeration to say that you are among a very select and privileged few who have been chosen to join the Ashesi community. You represent a diverse group of individuals who come from Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone; from East to West; from rural villages to metropolitan cities. Yet, you also represent a quite uniform group -- a cohort of young adults, each of whom holds great capacity to become a leader.

Many of you, perhaps all of you, have joined us here at Ashesi with the singular purpose of enhancing your career and economic opportunities. You will get that and more.

Here at Ashesi, we seek to nurture the leaders of tomorrow's Africa: leaders with a strong appreciation of their responsibility to society, and the strength of character to live up to that responsibility. And we do this by inviting you to come on a quest with us, on an exploration of the world we live in. The education you receive here will teach you how to ask the right questions and will give you the tools to assist in your inquiry for the answers and deeper truths.

Together, we will discuss the age-old questions about what a good society is, and how best to organize the economic activity of such a society. Here at Ashesi, you will acquire clarity and strength of thinking that will make you the great leaders that you are all so capable of becoming. And, of course, you will be equipped with practical skills in Business Administration and Computer Science that will serve you well in your budding careers.

Today, with all the discord in the world; with the cacophony, the constant drumbeat of war across the globe; with the turmoil in the world's financial and product markets; and in the face of the raging HIV/AIDS epidemic, which continues its deadly march, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, it is more important than ever that we strengthen our resolve to accomplish our mission.

What we do here is nothing short of a search for the future prosperity, the future dignity, the future happiness of the African people, and ultimately, of humanity. I know you're up to the task.

We shall not cease from exploration
and the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time

Class of 2006, welcome to this expedition we call Ashesi University. I wish you a very successful and rewarding journey in the years to come.

 


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